Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s impact on music and culure in the 20th century is undeniable, through his music and image he brought Rock and Roll to the mainstream in a way that the black artists before him were never able to do, for that it’s understandable that he picked up the moniker “The King of Rock and Roll”. It’s also easy to see why his death on August 16th 1977 from a heart attack, due to prolonged drug use[1], left his huge fanbase unwilling to believe in their idols death, instead choosing to invest in the myth that he had chosen to fake his death and go into seclusion away from the spotlight.

In reality, his relevance had waned hugely in the years before as his health and drug problems became apparent, and he was largely forgotten by society[1], and the main evidence of the myth is based solely on the many Elvis Sightings made public, usually by fans after his death.
As to explaining those, well surely a man couldn’t have that many dopplegangers? Well, if you’re Elvis Presley, it turns out you do.

Almost Elvis, a 2001 documentary gives a brief history of impersonation on it’s bonuses(above), estimates 20,000 to 35,000 Elvis impersonators worldwide[2] over all races, ages, and sex, though some sources are not quite so modest:

“There are now at least 85,000 Elvis’s around the world, compared to only 170 in 1977 when Elvis died. At this rate of growth, experts predict that by 2019 Elvis impersonators will make up a third of the world population.” – The Naked Scientists 3 December 2000.[3]

Slightly extreme maybe, but the cult of Elvis isn’t exactly ever to grounded in reality

According to Gael Sweeney, Elvis impersonation “offers a spectacle of the grotesque, the display of the fetishized Elvis body by impersonators who use a combination of Christian and New Age imagery and language to describe their devotion to The King. ‘True’ impersonators believe that they are ‘chosen’ by The King to continue His work and judge themselves and each other by their ‘Authenticity’ and ability to ‘Channel’ Elvis’s true essence. True impersonators don’t ‘do Elvis’ for monetary gain, but as missionaries to spread the message of The King. Especially interesting are those who do not perform, per se, that is, they don’t do an Elvis act, they just ‘live Elvis,’ dressing as The King and spreading His Word by their example.[3].

Added to that, you’d think the guy would have had a little more ego than to fake his death in what is, essentially, a toilet accident. Unfortunatly for his fans, it seems entriely likely that in fact, Elvis Presley is deceased, though he’ll continue to live on in his music, and the industry of his tribute acts.
The King is dead, long live The King.

Referances

  1. a b Elvis Presley Wikipedia. Retrieved 16th May 2008.
  2. ^ The Complete History of Elvis Impersonators in 10 minutes Youtube. Retrieved 16th May 2008.
  3. a b Elvis Impersonator Wikipedia. Retrieved 15 May 2008.

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